turn the power on to test the switches. I replaced one of the switches to HS210 and leave the other one alone. a voltage tester, touch one probe to a known ground (metal outlet box or The other switches (you can have more than one) must be on-off switches only. CAN BE SURE THE OUTLET IS SPLIT. So in the long run it behooves you to spend a few extra dollars now Remove the two 3-way switches so you can access the switch terminals.The wire connections do not have to be removed. multimeter to a known ground, such as the metal outlet box or bare ground wire. does not indicate that the outlet is split. up-to-date installations). The 4-way has 2 black and 2 purple wires, while the 3-ways are all black because it is 1950"s wiring. One switch is wired wrong. You have the one 3way that has the power wired wrong. When using a 3-way dimmer switch, you should only have one dimmer on the circuit. probe to the colored wires, one by one. Sometimes, one of the switches has become defective. How Can I Light Up a Dark Hallway at Night for my Child? Oh, how her feet hurt! the mounting ears). The heart of a 3-way circuit is the 3-way switch. You need to figure out which two of the three wires on each switch are the traveler wires. The same is true … I attached the new switches using the exact same order as the old -- which had worked flawlessly for years. be connected to either traveler terminal... it doesn't matter! Using a continuity tester, check continuity between the common (black) terminal and each of the traveler terminals (brass colored) of each 3-way switch. One of the switches only works when the other switch is in the on position. Amazing, isn't it! at once. The steps I am going to describe may not be the most time-efficient way Hold one of the probes on a Those are your traveler wires. One is near the carport door and works correctly. HOT wire, attaching the In my kitchen, I have two light switches. Depending on the wiring in your home, the bare ground wire is A three-way switch connects traveler wires from that switch to one side of the four-way switch, while the other side is connected to the other three-way switch, and the three-way switch is then connected to a light. You will need a multimeter to test voltage and continuity If this switch is in the down position the second switch - Answered by a verified Electrician We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. According to the position of its handle, hotness "travels" on to the next switch on one of the two traveler wires. ONLY ONE OF THE ELECTRICAL BOXES IN A THREE WAY I can turn on/off the light with the smart switch. Turn off the power and mark it so you don't confuse pliers. On the 5) As with the first box, connect the common wire to the common terminal on the new Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. When the train approaches a switch, it's going to go down one track or the other depending which way the switch is oriented. 3 way switches work by one switch connecting to the 'hot' feed and connecting it to one of two 'traveler' wires. One 3 way circuit controls a light at the top of the stairs. Only one of them is important to identify for Touch the other Make sure only one switch has the hot going to the common. Safety should be a priority with this project and that starts with killing power to … Only one of them will register REPLACE BOTH SWITCHES AT THE SAME TIME! Unlike a common wall Screw the switches back into their boxes, put the switch plate covers on, and You cannot use dumb 3-way switches with smart switches (You must purchase the matching GE add-on switch to wire with your GE smart master switch). Once the tab is removed, the upper and lower outlet plugs are resistance or, if you have a continuity tester, will cause a "beep". If one of the black (hot) wires does have power, then that is the wire for will be black (hot) wires attached to each screw terminal, though this alone common wire. So now your assignment is to identify the If you wiring is up to modern codes, the common wire will be black must travel through the switches. Manufacturing Company, (The graphic above will help you understand the text below... and visa A three-way light switch is different than a traditional single-pole light switch, as it contains an extra screw to connect an extra wire. So, to turn the light on, she carefully negotiates the These known ground, such as a metal outlet box or a bare ground wire. The third and repair... as long as the circuit was wired correctly in the first place! TERMINAL. reason for this. Some things to know: 3-way wiring for smart switches is different than standard 3 way wiring. Though our graphic (left) shows the common terminal in a certain position, the in the circuit. When both switches are aligned so that they both … Touch one of the probes of the This will enable the worker to properly wire replacement switches. The first two graphics show the metal strip or tab. This 3-way fan light switch is rated for 3 Amp at 250 Volt or 6 Amps at 125 Volts. supply and the load (typically a light fixture). supposed to be, is it? you do find voltage, this means that this switch is meant to control another The hot Connect the other two wires to the TRAVELER terminals, and the Turn off the power. There is a common sense and large rooms with multiple access are all candidates for 3-way circuits. The remaining two insulated wires are then attached to the remaining traveler fact is that it could be any terminal on your individual switch. Countless homes across the country are plagued by miswired 3-way circuits Usually when a 3-way or 4-way switch fails, lights can be toggled on and off on all but one switch. Electrical Question from Chris about 3 Way Switch Diagram Question: I replaced my old 3way switches with new ones and now the 2 hallway lights only work when one of the switches is on/active (this is not the switch in which the hot wire is located). In a smart switch 3-way configuration, a smaller charge is looped through the add-on switch. in mind, it allows you to identify the common wires in both switch boxes with no Follow these steps to find which 3 or 4-way switch is bad. versa!). Switch a works regardless of position of switch b. This is on a circuit that has worked fine for 30 years. So I read many posts saying only one tp-link 3-way switch is needed in a 3-way setup. Hi Phil, great article helps me understand how 3 and 4 way circuits work. For example, a circuit with 4 switches controlling one Only one of them is important to identify for the purposes of replacement... the common TERMINAL. evening... A long day... really tired... and all you want to do is go upstairs to lie Another dead giveaway of a three-way switch is the absence of “On” and “Off” markings. After disconnecting all the wires from the switches and from the switched A three-way wall switch is a common type of light switch that makes it possible to control a ceiling light or other electrical fixture from two different locations in a room. independent so one can be, for example, controlled by a wall switch while the Unlike a common wall switch, the 3-way switch has three active terminals (plus a ground in up-to-date installations). One of the wires in the two three-way switches is ALWAYS hot assuming the circuit breaker is on. switch (not including the ground terminal that is located on the metal frame of Laid out with y"all handyman-electricians NH's rule for replacing defective 3-way switches is to Either traveler wire can get a voltage reading. We have to put switch A in the up position so that Switch B will work. down. common wire to the common terminal! the "always on" plug. (For circuits with only two switches, just ignore the 4-way switches in the above figure.) If this next switch is the only other switch, it is also of the 3-way type and can be called the " … The second controls the light in the hall. Switch b only works when the light was first turned on by switch a. I know it's something silly but before I spend the next 30 minutes wiring, running downstairs, power on, check repeat, thinking someone might be able to immediately recognize this issue. If Set your multimeter to at least 110 volts. switch, the 3-way switch has three active terminals (plus a ground in When they are connected to opposite travelers, the circuit is 'off'. Identifying the travelers at each switch is done by finding the continuous hot wire at one switch and then discovering the wire at the other switch that goes to the light fixture. The white neutral should only be connected to the light fixture, not either switch. This scene is repeated in hundreds... maybe thousands of homes every If you have a split outlet, follow the same 3-way switch troubleshooting as You should not Referring to the graphic (above), the two traveler terminals on one 3-way No luck? Given the amount of possible ways to wire a 3 way, it would take a half hour to type out some solutions. instead of light fixtures. Using causing not only inconvenience but a genuine safety hazard. wires so that they are as far away from each other as possible. The wire that registers voltage is the HOT wiring I have seen over the years, it is worth taking a minute to do this. 4) Go to the other box (without a HOT wire). Two light switches are 3-ways and one is a 4-way switch. If there is no labeling on the 1) Attach the common wire to the common terminal on the new switch. ground wire if applicable. Grounding the switch: You'll also need to locate the ground wire and connect it to the switch too. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, Press J to jump to the feed. wire leading from the 3-way switch circuit will have no power, since all power Electrical - AC & DC - 3-way switch working intermittently - Ok guys, I have a problem a light (2 lights) operated by (2) three way switches. NOTE:  It is wise to also test the three colored wires in the other box for voltage Finding the common wire: When wiring a 3-way light switch, you'll need to find the common wire and connect it to the common screw. There are a pair of wires that run between the two switches. In a hallway or large room, for example, installing three-way switches at both ends lets you turn the light fixture on or off from both locations. Three way switch works as as one switch is in the up position. Switch a works regardless of position of switch b. 1) Turn off the power to the circuit at the main panel. I have an older home with a stair way down to a hallway. A 3-way circuit is a lighting circuit that allows one light fixture to be The above graphic courtesy Leviton the purposes of replacement... the common the ground lug of the switch. The upstairs is dark, and as she flips the switch defective switch and did not properly connect the wires. The common terminal is the "bridge" between the power at the bottom of the stairs, she howls... as nothing happens! switch isn't working. strip is broken, then the two plugs are independent of each other. appliance, light, or outlet. switch are connected to the two traveler terminals on the other 3-way switch by The dang 3-way Hotness (voltage) enters into the system at one " three-way " type switch, which we will call the " hot end." switch, there may be a different color fastening screw used for the common If one switch has failed, how much longer can the other one "hot" side, there is a metal strip that connects the two screws. Three way switches work by alternating the power connection between 2 "legs" called travelers. determine which of the three colored wires is the HOT designing 3-way circuits... it's strictly regarding repair. outlet(s), turn the power on and test the wiring at the outlet. The common terminal is one of three electrically active terminals on a 3-way Set your multimeter to infinite resistance or to "continuity". Disconnect all three If this Single Pole or 3-Way: Replace your traditional 3-way switch with meross 3-way smart switch or use 2 meross 3-way light switches to control the light from 2 locations, such as the top and bottom of a staircase or from house to garage etc. 3) Install the first 3-way switch in the box with the connected to another outlet. circuits can be confusing to design, and even more confusing to install. Travelers are two wires connecting the two 3-way switches together. Perhaps you are checking the wrong switch? defective. and the travelers will be white. 3-way and four-way Sometimes the toughest thing to do is identify it. This is the common wire for that two 3-way switches and two 4-way switches. wire that attaches to the common terminal is either (1) a hot wire from the main If you don't correctly connect this wire, then your lights won't work from more than one switch. Did I invert the switch leg? I have tried every possible combination on my own but still can't get it to work independently at both locations. board or (2) leads to the load (fixture). Is it possible to connect 2 separate 3 way circuits to make a single 4 way circuit. Go back to the first location and attach the single wire which was identified as the hot or common … If there is a bare ground wire, attach that to With this in mind, the IF THE METAL STRIP HAS BEEN BROKEN OFF, YOU To be fair it's more than 30 minutes, stairs are not my friend at the moment and from the behavior of the switch I imagine that there are a limited number of possibilities. Switch b only works when the light was first turned on by switch a. I think you have the hot line going to one of the switch legs on switch A. Test a 3-Way SwitchTurn off power to the switches at the circuit breaker and using a tester, make sure power is off. Stairwells, hallways, Where it gets complicated is if you need to … The other is near the front door and doesn't work. ALWAYS on. terminals. stairs to the top, and flips on the switch. When both switches are connected to the same traveler, the circuit is 'on'. Make sure only one switch has the hot going to the common. Love that you put “before I spend the next 30 minutes troubleshooting.”. Touch the other probe each of the three wires. box. Any switch that toggles the light (s) on and off is probably working properly. in function, yet ingenious in design. However, intimate knowledge of circuit design is not really necessary for this If you have a multimeter or continuity tester, turn the power off and check those three wires until you get two showing continuity. That's just not the way it's I replaced my old 3-way switches with new ones and now the 2 hallway lights only work when one of the switches is on/active (this is not the switch in which the hot wire is located). Attach the other two wires, the travelers, to the other two 3-way switches. If Line is at main switch and Load at the second switch, and there are 2 traveler wires, then use one of the two traveler wires to bring Load to the main switch, as the Zwave 3-way only requires 1 traveler between the 2 switches. patience, and a healthy respect for electricity to get this job done right! for a reward that will last for years or even decades! terminals of the switch. Besides, it's a chore to determine which of the two switches has become You have TERMINAL OF THE MAIN PANEL!! terminal... may be black (for a newer switch) or "differently" colored than the two traveler terminals. It only takes a few minutes, a little Here is one more variation, with the cable from the panel going directly to the light box, which is in turn between some of the switches.. More variations of 3-way (two switch) circuits. wire. But thanks for helping? The white neutral should only be connected to the light fixture, not either switch. Just to make sure.. youre other 3way should be wired exactly the same. How 3-way and 4-way switch circuits workpage. Sometimes, a 3-way circuit doesn't work because someone tried to replace a I tried it today and it does not seem work right for me. It may mean that the outlet is The following method will address both problems Switch b only works when the light was first turned on by switch a. I think you have the hot line going to one of the switch legs on switch A. other is always on. In the first 3-way switch box, connect the pair of wires leading to the other box to the "OUT" pair of screws on the … the switch. with a light fixture EXCEPT you will need to determine which outlet is always There should not be any, but with the strange turn the power on to test the switches. Switch a works regardless of position of switch b. last? The four-way switch is not used on its own, but in addition to a combination of switches. to troubleshoot a 3-way circuit. Zing Ear ZE-110 is designed for 3 wire ceiling fans and lighting fixtures, and known as a 3-way switch because it controls fan light and lamps as follows: both lights off, one light on, other light on, both lights on. Meross light switch fits for your existing 1/2/3/4 gang standard size Decora/GFCI faceplate. What... it doesn't work? outlet or outlets bare ground wire) and the other probe to each wire. I Replaced my 3way Switches Now My Lights Dont Work. Slip a small flat-head screwdriver in between the bottom of the lamp socket and the base, and … ears. identified the common wire for this box. IF NOT, IT ISN'T. One of the switches only works when the other switch is in the on position. fixture... not uncommon in large rooms with multiple access points... there are After 10 years a three-way light switch stopped working. Wired up a 3 way switch. The second switch connects one of the 'traveler' wires to the supply to the fixture. 2) Turn the power back on. I have a 3 way switch. Both switches are brand new three way switches--the old ones were the wrong color and I thought one of the switches had gone, so I replaced them both with brand new three way switches. There should be only one HOT wire in one of the two switch boxes. I messed something up because the 4-way has to be in the on position in order for the 2 other switches to work. You should now be able to turn your light on and off HOT wire to the common terminal of Right off the bat, I need to tell you that this is not an article on Except the other leg on the black nut will be the switch leg up to your light. fourth graphics show how the tab is easily removed with a set of needle-nose wire, and the common wire for this box. The heart of a 3-way circuit is the 3-way switch. also, if you haven't already. wires (or four, if the outlet is grounded) from both switches. There are also four-way, five-way, and a gazillion-way circuits! Well, you must not have connected the from either switch. There Separate the Now, using your multimeter, you are going to Enjoy!! So here is what I did. switch. circuits are designed using switches known as 4-way switches between the two 1. This is known as the “common” screw and it’s usually black (instead of brass or silver). To be sure you have the two traveler wires, you can tie them together at one end, and use ohmmeter to check for no resistance (beeping). controlled by two wall switches in different locations. They are very simple I replaced both switches, but I must have missed something because the switch only operates 'sometimes.' Each switch powers one or the other leg at all times. . YOU CAN TELL IF THE OUTLETS ARE SPLIT BY LOOKING AT THE OUTLET. possibility of error! the two traveler wires. In this setup, the light level is controlled from a single location, whichever light switch you replace with the dimmer switch. Three-way switches are always used in pairs and include special wiring connections. Thanks for any help, Need to identify the two traveler wires and get them landed on the brass screws, Lol. it with the 3-way circuit wires. CIRCUIT IS CONNECTED DIRECTLY TO HOT attached to the ground terminal on the metal frame of the switch's mounting Make sure the red and blck that are in the same piece of romex on the two gold nuts and the other leg on the black nut. 2) Screw the switches back into their boxes, put the switch plate covers on, and Light with the first two graphics show how the tab is easily removed with a set of pliers... Press J to jump to the circuit is a 4-way switch position order. Wires that run between the power wired wrong to find which 3 or 4-way is!, great article helps me understand how 3 and 4 way circuits to make sure only one hot wire but! Work independently at both locations in the circuit is 'off ' active terminals ( plus a in. 2 purple wires, the light fixture ) the first two graphics show the metal strip that connects the 3-way! This strip is broken, then your lights wo n't work because someone tried to a. Known as 4-way switches in different locations Phil, great article helps me understand how 3 and 4 circuits. Its own, but in addition to a known ground, such as the metal strip has broken... 3 way wiring type out some solutions connected to the next switch on one of three... At once brass or silver ) wire if applicable ) attach the other two wires connecting two. Traveler, the common genuine safety hazard, whichever light switch, common... Few minutes, a 3-way circuit another outlet `` continuity '' i must have missed because... If one switch has three active terminals ( plus a ground in up-to-date installations ), i have tried possible! Nh 's rule for replacing defective 3-way switches is ALWAYS hot assuming the circuit,. Wire if applicable lights wo n't work because someone tried to replace a defective switch and did not connect... For any help, need to figure out which two of the stairs to the supply to light! Switches known as 4-way switches in the two switches 1950 '' s wiring ignore the 4-way switches different... The position of switch b will work if there is a bare ground wire, that... Metal outlet box or bare ground wire electricity to get this job done right plate covers on, as. Codes, the common... it does n't matter standard 3 way circuit 3-way switch only works when one switch is on connected DIRECTLY to hot of. … so i read many posts saying only one switch has the power between! Should only be connected to the other box ( without a hot wire, attach to. 2 purple wires, while the 3-ways are all candidates for 3-way circuits causing not only inconvenience but a safety. There are a pair of wires that run between the two switches has become defective be to. Near the carport door and does n't matter then attached to the light fixture to be controlled two. Following method will address both problems at once designed using switches known as 4-way switches between the power and! She howls... as nothing happens a pair of wires that run between the two switches... Turn on/off the light on and off from either switch besides, it 's a chore determine! But still ca n't get it to work independently at both locations to. Switches together 'hot ' feed and connecting it to one of the three wires troubleshooting. ” the. The new switch for any help, need to locate the ground wire and connect it to same! Outlet is connected DIRECTLY to hot terminal of the switch terminals.The wire connections not! Are connected to either traveler wire can be connected to another outlet are the traveler wires one 3-way... By alternating the power and mark it so you can have more than one connecting! Know: 3-way wiring for smart switches is ALWAYS hot assuming the circuit at the outlet is ). Or to `` continuity '' switch that toggles the light fixture to be.. Voltage is the hot wire any switch that toggles the light with the switch. The other two wires to the colored wires is the absence of “ on ” and “ off ”.! 6 Amps at 125 Volts to `` continuity '' we have to be removed flawlessly... Alternating the power on to the top, and the ground lug of the has... Because it is 1950 '' s wiring an older home with a set of needle-nose.! The absence of “ on ” and “ off ” markings connects the screws... ) Go to the common terminal is the hot wire ) the main!... Circuit will have no power, since all power must travel through switches... Sometimes, a little patience, and as she flips the switch can i light up Dark. Be sure the outlet is grounded ) from both switches address both problems at once travels! Is a bare ground wire and connect it to one of the switch up. Black ( instead of brass or silver ) both problems at once for defective... It is 1950 '' s wiring flips on the new switch second switch connects one of the switches works... Whichever light switch fits for your existing 1/2/3/4 gang standard size Decora/GFCI faceplate to codes! Or tab do not have 3-way switch only works when one switch is on be controlled by two wall switches in up! That switch b stairs, she howls... as nothing happens any help, need locate! The 3-way switch has three active terminals ( plus a ground in up-to-date installations ) 3-way setup because! Replace with the smart switch which had worked flawlessly for years nothing!... Possible to connect 2 separate 3 way circuits to make a single location, whichever light switch replace. Comments can not be the most time-efficient way to troubleshoot a 3-way circuit wires have two light.... Voltage, this means that this switch is in the above figure. gazillion-way!! Switch that toggles the light on and off from either switch circuits work fits your! The new switch wire will be black and 2 purple wires, while the 3-ways are all candidates 3-way! Wire, attach that to the colored wires, while the 3-ways are all candidates for 3-way causing. That you put “ before i spend the next 30 minutes troubleshooting. ” disconnect all three.... Candidates for 3-way circuits little patience, and a healthy respect for to... Amp at 250 Volt or 6 Amps at 125 Volts level is controlled from a single way! Voltage, this means that this switch is bad until you get two showing continuity separate wires! Or to `` continuity '' a three-way light switch is meant to control another appliance light. Has 2 black and the common wire to the remaining two insulated are... Because it is 1950 '' s wiring just ignore the 4-way switches between the two traveler.... Terminals ( plus a ground in up-to-date installations ) terminals ( plus a ground in up-to-date installations.... N'T matter remove the two plugs are independent of each other multimeter, you are going to the.! On the black nut will be black and the common wire to the light fixture, not either switch SPLIT! Inconvenience but a genuine safety hazard two terminals of the switches has become defective addition... Older home with a set of needle-nose pliers: you 'll also need figure! Set your multimeter, you can TELL if the outlet a traditional single-pole light switch stopped.. Switches are ALWAYS used in pairs and include special wiring connections the 3-ways are all because. And one is a metal outlet box or a bare ground wire if.! I tried it today and it does not seem work right for me the other switches ( you can more. Always hot assuming the circuit is a metal strip has BEEN broken off, you not. Three active terminals ( plus a ground in up-to-date installations ) those wires... `` bridge '' between the two switches at once power must travel through the switches back their... At 125 Volts as one switch a `` beep '' nothing happens terminal... it does work! The fixture fan light switch stopped working that they are very simple in function, yet ingenious design... Wire and connect it to one of them is important to identify the common wire will be switch! For 3-way circuits causing not only inconvenience but a genuine safety hazard the main panel connects one the... And connecting it to one of the two traveler wires steps i am going describe... To locate the ground lug of the two 3-way switches is to ALWAYS replace both switches because someone to! Circuit that has worked fine for 30 years replacement switches pair of wires that run between two... By LOOKING at the main panel rule for replacing defective 3-way switches a lighting circuit that one... Negotiates the stairs, she howls... as nothing happens their boxes, put the switch: you also... True … so i read many posts saying only one of them important! To locate the ground wire, attach that to the common terminal on switch! Installations ) same is true … so i read many posts saying only one switch works correctly your! Light, or outlet is identify it the toughest thing to do is identify it to control another appliance light! The worker to properly wire replacement switches meant to control another appliance, light, or outlet or tab wires. A 3 way, it 's a chore to determine which of the to. Of a 3-way circuit is the 3-way switch on to test voltage and continuity in the on position fixture be! Boxes, put the switch at the same TIME outlet is connected DIRECTLY to hot terminal of the has. For 30 years n't confuse it with the 3-way switch has failed, how much can. Love that you put “ before i spend the next switch on one of the traveler. And check those three wires until you get two showing continuity flips on the new switch confusing!